Dennis Blackburn has this splintered self-interest. The 56-year-old mechanic hasn’t worked in 18 months, since he lost his job at a tire company that supplies a diminishing number of local coal mines. “The old guy had to go home,” Blackburn says of his layoff.
He has a hereditary liver disorder, numbness in his hands and legs, back pain from folding his 6-foot-1-inch frame into 29-inch mine shafts as a young man, plus an abnormal heart rhythm — the likely vestige of having been struck by lightning 15 years ago in his tin-roofed farmhouse.
Blackburn was making small payments on an MRI he’d gotten at Pikeville Medical Center, the only hospital in a 150-mile radius, when he heard about Big Sandy’s Shelby Valley Clinic. There he met Fleming, who helped him sign up for one of the managed-care Medicaid plans available in Kentucky.
On Election Day, Blackburn voted for Bevin because he is tired of career politicians and thought a businessman would be more apt to create the jobs that Pike County so needs. Yet when it comes to the state’s expansion of health insurance, “it doesn’t look to me as if he understands,” Blackburn said. “Without this little bit of help these people are giving me, I could probably die. . . . It’s not right to not understand something but want to stamp it out.”
Well sorry Dennis. You voted for the guy who ran on taking health care away from you. Steve Benen isn't exactly sorry for Dennis here either.
My point is not to be unsympathetic. It seems this man is facing serious health issues and I can only hope he, and others like him, receive the assistance they need.
But Matt Bevin did not hide his intentions, and Kentucky will now try to live with the consequences of the voters’ decision. The state was a model for the nation; Kentuckians had an opportunity to keep that model in place; and now they’ve chosen to go in a very different direction.
I should note that the future isn’t entirely clear. Bevin ran on an anti-healthcare platform, but he’s begun to hedge on some of the details, vowing to come up with a new, as-yet-unstated plan, which will likely cost more and cover less, but which may prevent hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians from losing their health security altogether.
In the meantime, however, a lot of families are worried about just how much damage a Bevin administration will do, and by all appearances, those fears are well grounded.
And before anyone starts thinking Bevin is the one who is going to burn for this, let's understand that all Bevin has to do is say that Medicaid expansion was always going to go away because Obamacare was always broken, and to blame Obama and the Democrats.
And Dennis here? That's exactly what he'll do.
He will continue to vote against his self-interests. He wanted his Medicaid, but he wasn't going to admit that the ni-CLANG! president was helping him. So he voted for the other guy and thought he would be able to tell Obama to go to hell and keep his Medicaid.
A lot of people did.
Welcome to Bevinstan.